The Fat Takers Pipeline: Native People, the KXL, the Cowboy and Indian Alliance and the Constitution by Winona LaDuke
“No Keystone XL Black Snake Pipeline will cross Lakota Lands. We will protect our lands and waters and we have our horses ready…” Brian Brewer , President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe
In mid February, the Keystone XL Pipeline, or the Black Snake found some stronger adversaries. “It poses a threat to our sacred water and the product is coming from the tar sands and our tribes oppose the tar sands mining,” Debra White Plume, an Oglala leader told the press. White Plume’s family and many others have opposed the pipeline, along with a myriad of uranium mining projects proposed for the Paha Sapa, the Black Hills. “All of our tribes have taken action to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. Members from the seven tribes of the Lakota Nation, along with tribal members and tribes in Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana, Nebraska and Oregon, are prepared to stop construction of the pipeline. “
This past October, the Lakota rode some of the proposed pipeline route in a set of 3 rides organized by grassroots and national organizations, including Honor the Earth, Owe Aku, and 350.org. The routes covered territory between Wanbli on the Pine Ridge reservation to Takini on the Cheyenne River reservation, in a spiritual ride to honor the water and counter the oil. This ride was one of three rides (the other 2 were Minnesota pipeline rides on the Alberta Clipper and proposed Sandpiper route for fracked oil). The Lakota will ride again. That is, if the pipeline project gets President Obama’s approval. That is, if the Nebraska and Iowa lawmakers don’t stop it first because of the little constitutional problems of eminent domain. That is also, if the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t close it down.
The Keystone XL Project took a big step forward for oil companies, when the State Department announced that the pipeline had passed the most recent environmental review. The State Department Inspector General however, is investigating potential conflicts of interest on the part of ERM, the contractor hired to conduct the study, because of close relations with TransCanada the pipeline company in the past.